According to his Wikipedia page, Tupac Shakur was a “rapper, record producer, actor, activist and poet.” Had his life not been tragically cut short, he might have added restauranteur to that list. Among his many endeavors, Pac had also sketched out ideas for a restaurant, and now, this weekend only, that concept will be actualized as a pop-up cafe in New York City.
More than just a touching tribute, Powamekka Café was “a concept imagined on three handwritten pages from Tupac’s personal notebooks more than twenty one years ago,” Tupac’s estate explains. One of those lined yellow sheets is even reproduced on the restaurant’s Reserve page. Beneath a hand-drawn logo, the rapper described the concept as “a passionate paradise 4 people with power 2 play and parlay.” (If you didn’t quite understand the name “Powamekka” before, read it aloud and again and you should definitely catch on.) The imaginative artist even whipped up a fake celebrity endorsement (from a celebrity who is clearly as enamored with replacing numbers for words as he was): “The perfect hideout 4 those who wish 2 escape the world’z cold reality.” And, of course, Tupac took the time to sketch out the all-important bathroom doors signs: “Divas” and “Playaz.”
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For its pop-up incarnation, Powamekka Café will be taking over the Lower East Side location of Sweet Chick, the chicken and waffles specialists that serve “American cuisine with a Southern accent” (and that, notably, is also part-owned by rapper Nas). Tupac’s estate and Universal Music Group’s Bravado merchandising company will be taking over the reins, and as Tupac outlined in his notes, a Southern accent will be loud and clear. Promising a “Down Home” menu, the pop-up will “feature his favorite food, including meatloaf, gumbo and his cousin Jamala’s fried chicken wings,” according to a statement.
Beyond simply serving up food, the café will also serve as a temporary Tupac museum, showing off “a lesser known side of Tupac” by featuring “carefully curated photographs, posters, artifacts, poetry and album covers” – “a peek into Tupac’s artistic influences and personal life.” Unsurprisingly, the restaurant also has a merchandising tie-in, with Tupac’s estate and Bravado releasing limited edition apparel and other goodies.
Powamekka Café will be open Fri, April 7 to Sun, April 9. Seating is being offered exclusively through the site Reserve, and interested parties should probably act fast as a quick peek through available reservations made it appear as if most of the slots are already booked up.